I have a co-worker who oftentimes breaks out the “gamechanger” label to describe select, significant industry developments. Recently, that got me to thinking: What agricultural gamechangers being only hinted at right now could deserve this label between now and the Year 2025? For your consideration, I offer up these three possibilities.
This one seems like a no-brainer as a potential gamechanger over the next several years. Already in 2021, there are numerous major agricultural suppliers that are touting their and their customers’ efforts in this area, citing such movements as carbon credits and biological product development as examples. Even end-users such as Wal-Mart and PepsiCo have jumped wholeheartedly onto the sustainability bandwagon, so it’s likely this topic will dominate many agricultural future discussions for many years to come. Undoubtedly, this will continue to change how agriculture conducts its business during the average growing season.
This is another area where new developments impacting agriculture are happening at a rapid clip. For several years now, drones and autonomous vehicles have been in development. Now, however, many new advances in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) have further quickened the pace for agriculture (the latest being a new AI-based system for harvesting avocados). I look for more such AI-based systems to quickly make their way into the area of row crop planting/development/harvesting over the next four years. This will probably change how grower-customers and ag retailers utilize employees once these systems become more widespread.
Although not new to agriculture, there are several new developments in the area of biotech/genetics that could be game-changing for the marketplace just on the horizon. Already moving into the market are new CRISPR-driven advances, along with drought-resistant crops that promise to open up previously unfarmable stretches of land across the U.S. and other countries. Coming soon are varieties of corn that can fix their own nitrogen, which will probably alter how crop nutrients are being utilized at the grower-customer level, not to mention more stacked trait options.
Besides these three, there are probably at least a half-dozen more trends currently just emerging or in development that could be game-changing for agriculture. As always, time will tell.